In which the old house is still a disaster, but one can kind of see the mess more purposefully...

HELLO! Much progress (and noise) has been made on the Great Closet Expansion Project of 2013! Three cheers to my hardworking husband for slaving away at this monumental task.

First, I must reiterate (for the record): WE LIVE HERE, PEOPLE. We come and go, daily, to and from work. We are constantly covered in grimy gunk, but it's not for nothing.We've got a heck of a plan cooked up over here. D. has been hard at work getting everything ready to break through the back side into the dining room. I can't believe how long ago we came up with the bright idea of expanding the closet.

For perspective, this photo was taken with a SIDEKICK. Uploaded to my Facebook page on October 1, 2010:  apparently, we really like to think things through before we get started, huh? 

Here's the pile of lath that was ever-so-tediously removed from the dining room side of the wall. 
"Was this a bad idea?" He thought to himself, as he examined the freshly-demolished wall to determine if the house was structurally sound enough to go without a few studs here n' there. 
 ...Mostly There...
 D., expaining the new dimensions of the closet. 
 "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo... This old stud has GOT TO GO" ... is what I like to pretend he was rhyming to himself.
 This is the upstairs floor - you can see the four floorboards we replaced a few years ago!

 And THIS is the stuff nightmares are made of! It's mostly old insulation, knob-and-tube wiring and mouse droppings ... probably. I don't know for sure, but I like to assume the worst.

 Right: backside of the fireplace. 
Left: MASSIVE, GAPING HOLE IN THE WALL! Which is how far the new closet will extend into the dining area.

 Another fun view of the terrors that haunt me in the night.

 This is where we live

D. was hard at work today, working his way through these old 2" studs that, for no reason whatsoever, extend all the way to the foundation, but provide exactly no structural support (aside from the nonexistent wall) that I'm aware of.

 This is the NEW air return placement as demonstrated by the NEW air return grille we ordered.

 Rejuvenation is my JAM. For the better part of the last decade or so, we've been obsessed (like, SWF-obsessed) with Rejuvenation. This shop has everything we need (read: want) for period-inspired hardware and lighting. While our current fixtures aren't from Rejuvenation, (ours are from Sea Gull Lighting - a perk of having been employed in the electrical design field) we have hopes of replacing them eventually with theirs to provide continuity. I love to stop by and browse whenever we visit Seattle and Portland. They were acquired by whatever parent brand owns Pottery Barn/ Williams-Sonoma/West Elm and is responsible for supplying yuppie upper-middle-classers with vintage-insprired niche-y home goods (that I just so happen to love), apparently, it caused quite a stir and sparked some uproar around Portland's most militant independites. Me? I couldn't really care less. Listen, I love a mom and pop as much as everyone else, but isn't getting picked up by one of the big guys ... like .. the point of entrepreneurship? Whatever, I still love them. 

If they opened a store locally, I'd love them even more. In fact, yes, do that. I would like to officially pre-apply for nights and weekends if you don't mind. I'll need to build up sufficient in-store credit to offset my probable debtload.

 I've gotten off track. Anyway, here's the old return and the gap between the closet and dining room floors. You see, when you build a wall, there's no need to continue the floorboards straight through. So .. this will need some ... adjustment. 

 Closet interior!

 I was instructed to photograph this bit, specifically. It took a lot of precision and skill to get this just-so. I can only imagine how tricky it's going to be when we have to match the cove style on the new wall.

 "KNOBS! TUBES! These newfangled electrics will revolutionize every aspect of  your lives from day to day! Buy quickly to be the first in town to modernize! Transform your home from drab and old-fashioned to the most cosmopolitan house on the block!" - as read with a jazzy 1940s transatlantic accent. It's all the rage!

For perspective - the old return and the new, in its intended location. 

 Using the old studs to demonstrate the wall positions! The long one denotes where the new major wall will go and the little shorty in the center will be the side wall/back of the pantry. You see, the backside of the closet wasn't load-bearing; however, the far kitchen wall very much IS. Improvisation is our middle name. (Just kidding, I don't even have a middle name. THANKS, by the way, mom and dad.) So, anyway, instead of tearing down the lot of it, we're implementing some much-needed kitchen storage in the way of a pantry. It'll be about four feet wide by about six feet deep - not enormous, but considering our obvious lack of pantry status, it is beyond welcome. Dare I say, a kitchen wench's dream-come-true? 

Keeping up with the Kardashians at last!

The project I'm most thrilled to start is the stripping of these doors. It's similar to Pamplona's Running of the Bulls, in that .. if you do it wrong, you'll die. Except, instead of getting trampled or gored to death, I'll slowly develop lead poisoning or cancer from inhaling the fumes! Thank goodness for the pink respirator D. bought me! I hadn't started chronicling our adventure yet when I started stripping the wallpaper like a meth addict with a compulsion, but if it's anything like that, I'll be one happy Lanny.

These doors have been a hotly-contested issue, but I have obviously made a sufficiently-compelling argument and the doors will be hung. Hopefully soon. They were stored in the attic after one of the previous owners took them down (along with the original trim that surrounded the XL opening) and installed an arched doorway. They remained up there, being used as makeshift flooring until D discovered them and we brought them down. The wide doorway is great and all, but holy moly... I just can't see having them at our disposal and giving them away, knowing that they belong in our home. Plus, it'll keep the cats locked away from our (nonexistent) sofa.  My amazing father-in-law came by today to offer his expert consulting skills (because he's way too busy to help, and knowing this, we are not even about to ask) and advised that we strip them down and find someone to hang them for us. Meaning ... build a jamb and THEN we can install them in the doorway pre-hung like the other doors we bought in Portland. 

In the meantime...
... if you need me, I'll be over here ...


  1. WOwza! Well done, you two! And on a side note... best "about the author" I think I've ever read. ;)

  2. The deconstruction is about finished, yes? Let the reconstruction begin. Destry is so painstaking, but it's worth it in the end, when there are no leaks, no collapses, nothing that "falls off" in that random way. Structurally, the place is so much better off than it was -- nice!

  3. Wow. You live there! Being in all that disarray would drive me nuts! Kudos to you and D.


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